Four years have passed since President Obama visited Kansas City's main airport, rolled up his shirt sleeves and admonished the skeptics who said Smith Electric Vehicles was unlikely to make good on its promises to build 510 experimental electric-powered trucks and buses suitable for commercial use.
“Come see what’s going on at Smith Electric," the president said, inspecting a table full of bright green truck batteries in what was once a maintenance hangar for TWA. "I think they’re going to be hard-pressed to tell you that you’re not better off than you would be if we hadn’t made the investments in this plant.”
The skeptics turned out to be right.
Despite $32 million in federal stimulus funds and status as one of Obama's favorite "green" companies, the firm has halted production, having built just 439 of the promised 510 vehicles.